Riverbank landowners play an important role in the protection and restoration of the Niagara River and its tributaries. These residents who live at the water’s edge have the opportunity to serve as stewards of the local environment, ecologically restoring their riparian lands and serving as models to others in the community. While many riparian landowners appreciate their access to water, understand that we need to be conscious of activities that negatively impact our surroundings and are interested in restoring the environment, they may lack the practical knowledge and technical assistance required to increase the ecological integrity of their property.
The Niagara River Riparian Restoration Program is an initiative of Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER, funded by the Niagara River Greenway Commission through a grant from the New York Power Authority. The program utilizes the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, plants from local nurseries, and the labor of willing volunteers to install native trees, grasses, shrubs, rain gardens, wetlands and meadows on at least 25 waterfront properties between Buffalo and Youngstown, before the end of 2012. Numerous relatively simple, small-scale installations of this nature will make a positive impact on the quality of our waterways and their surrounding ecology.
Trees provide shade over the water, reducing its temperature and the solubility of nutrients, therefore reducing the onset of eutrophication and the associated depletion of oxygen in the water. Native plants can survive in our area without the addition of excessive fertilizers and pesticides. Rain gardens slow the advance of storm water following heavy rainfall; therefore allowing water to soak into the ground rather than be sent down the storm drains and into combined sewer overflows.
Both landowners and volunteers play an imperative role in the realization of each new riparian habitat:
- Landowners are required by RIVERKEEPER to agree to maintain the project for a certain period following its installation. If you are interested in getting involved in the Habitat Restoration Program as a landowner, please contact Larry Brooks
or call (716) 852-7483 ext 17.
- The RestoreCorps of volunteers will spend at least 4 hours at each site learning principles of restoration and providing the required manual labor, re-establishing conditions similar to those prior to when urbanization and industrialization transformed much of our shorelines. If you are interested in volunteering with the RestoreCorps, please contact Emily McAndrews
or call (716) 852-7483 ext 31.
It takes a community to unite to allow nature to reclaim her ground.